ShareThis Page
Allegheny

Judge in Michael Rosfeld case orders release of contempt hearing transcript

Megan Guza
| Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, 4:12 p.m.

The judge presiding over the Michael Rosfeld case ruled Friday that the court must release a transcript of a contempt hearing last week for the defense attorney representing the East Pittsburgh police officer accused of homicide for shooting and killing an unarmed black teenager in June.

The Jan. 3 contempt hearing for attorney Patrick Thomassey was a closed-door hearing that the Tribune-Review was barred from observing.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Alexander Bicket noted in court that he denied prosecutors’ request to hold Thomassey in contempt.

That request stemmed from something Thomassey said in court that prosecutors believed violated the gag order placed on those involved in the case.

The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette and WPXI-TV filed motions to intervene, arguing that court proceedings are presumed open by the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin McCarthy argued that releasing the transcript would further the original issue of not discussing the case until it goes to trial.

“To discuss it further in public compounds the problem,” he said.

Rosfeld, a former East Pittsburgh police officer, is charged with homicide in the June 19 shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II.

Thomassey argued that releasing the transcript will draw more publicity. He previously filed a motion to bring in an outside jury for Rosfeld’s homicide trial, arguing that media coverage has made it impossible for his client to receive a fair trial. Bicket has not yet ruled on that motion.

Though arguing against releasing the transcript, Thomassey complained that the closed hearing and the gag order have kept him from defending himself. He said the district attorney’s request to hold him in contempt was slanderous.

“I can’t defend myself in public,” he said Friday.

Thomassey filed a motion earlier this week seeking to unseal some piece of grand jury testimony, with the District Attorney’s Office then moved to be placed under seal. Thomassey said it’s as though he has to “try this case in a broom closet.”

The court reporter has 10 days to provide the transcript.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, mguza@tribweb.com or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me